Another view on why reporters gave Toew’s infidelity a pass

Parliamentary scribe Stephen Maher, formerly of the Herald and now with PostMedia, offers a different view on why the Press Gallery all but ignored Vic Toews’s infidelity prior to #vikileaks30. (Previous views here, here, and here.)

Maher’s blog post is the more refreshing for its inclusion of updates from people who disagree with him. It rewards  reading in full. I actually agree with most of what he says. Generally, I have little stomach for exposing the private lives of public figures, let alone their sex lives. But unlike Maher and his colleagues, I think there are clear grounds for an exception in Toews’s case.

Maher wrote:

If [a] secretly gay cabinet minister started mouthing off hypocritically about family values, I would write that story in a minute.

To which I say, substitute the word “philandering” for “gay,” and you have the nub of my argument for serious coverage of the Public Safety Minister’s extramarital monkey business.

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One defense I have not heard from any press gallery member is: “I didn’t know about Toews’s infidelity.”

If no one was writing about it (beyond a few, fleeting references), how come everyone in the press gallery knew about it? Likely because they were talking about it, among themselves.

They found it interesting enough to talk about, but judged that we, as mere consumers of journalsim, did not have a need to know.

Reporters should be awfully careful when placing themselves in the position of censor. It’s a slippery slope, one all to easily greased by such considerations as future access to official sources and the political orientation of the news organization that writes the reporter’s pay check.